Friday, November 22, 2013

In praise of walls

Longtime readers are familiar with my objections to obligatory shared rooms in college. While I agree that there's much to be gained from putting a bunch of people from different backgrounds in close proximity (although, meningitis...), I've never understood why the sharing of a bedroom is supposed to be necessary. You can - I promise! - make great friends with people who live on the same hall, in the same apartment. But room-sharing causes all kinds of problems, from roommates having to be a couple feet away from an adventure to which they didn't consent to, more menacingly, cases where one roommate is meant to be a "learning experience" for the other, for some cultural reason. Put the gay kid with the homophobe, and... progress! Or... quite the opposite. There's something particularly unnerving about how, if something goes wrong in a roommate (as vs. suite-mate) situation, there's no space to escape. This person who hates your kind is sleeping next to you every night.

So think how much worse this already horrible story would be if all had been sharing one room. I'm at any rate inferring that this was a suite-type situation ("Barricaded the claustrophobic student in his room"; and "he'd been locking his bedroom door at night because he was scared of his roommates").

Commenters, please do point out that dorms have space constraints. And we can then, in the thread, have a whole discussion of how I don't think that's actually what's at stake here. Space constraints aren't limited to college students - the issue is the norm of it being socially acceptable or even considered advisable to have freshman, at least, share rooms with total strangers.

1 comment:

Petey said...

"Commenters, please do point out that dorms have space constraints."

Dorms have space constraints.

"So think how much worse this already horrible story would be if all had been sharing one room ... "Barricaded the claustrophobic student in his room"

No walls, no claustrophobia...